What do your customers care about your CRM?

I had an occasion to give an opening lecture pendant CRM Gigacon 2010 conference that took place in May 2010. The lecture dealt with the approach to the purchase and implementation of CRM. One of the topics discussed was the involvement of professional staff – the future users – in the process of defining requirements and evaluating the prototype. My provocative question was who is your CRM for?



For account managers, salesmen or rather for IT personnel? (The presentation can be found here) This was a beginning of a very interesting discussion. The participants of the lecture pointed out that there should be one more option – the CRM can be implemented according the needs of customers of the company. Of course, I did not agree with this proposition, and I explained that the customers do not care about our CRM. CRM for our customers is as irrelevant as our ISO procedures. We should remember about our customers, precisely about their needs and expectations. But never directly. The future users must remember needs of their customers and carefully explain how they want to serve customers and how CRM could help them achieve this.

I suggest a small test for unconvinced. Please prepare a table and list your own vendors. All of us are customers and most of our vendors use CRM. So let’s try to list strengths and weaknesses of their CRMs. Let me start:

  • My utilities company – I do not know anything about their CRM.
  • My internet provider – I cannot tell you, this is a customer of otherWise and we have signed an NDA.
  • My GSM carrier – Well, this is also a customer of otherWise.
  • My administrator of estates – I do not know anything.
  • My bank – I cannot tell you, guess why.
  • My nearest supermarket – well, no idea at all.

And how about your list?

If someone needs a better proof then please stop in front of the office of a service provider of your choice or in front of any shop, any hotel any single office and ask your CRM questions to customers. Please let me know what the responses are.

In fact, we met at the CRM Gigacon to discuss and learn from each other. For example I’ve learned that things obvious to the consultants of otherWise sometimes require further explanation. But the biggest surprise for me was that taking into account customer preferences in the process of implementation of the CRM was proposed by the chief of the consulting company. So the bigger problem is the choice of a consulting company than a choice of CRM. How should we approach the selection of a consulting company? I will try to suggest something next time.

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